Month: November 2016

6 Reasons to Workout in the Evening

6 Reasons to Workout in the Evening

So a few weeks ago I wrote a post; 6 Reasons to Workout in the Morning. I still stand by all of my reasons, and there’s no avoiding the fact that I will always be a morning person. However, with the winter drawing in and the hours of sunlight getting shorter, I have found myself fitting in my daily gym session in the evening instead. What’s more, I’ve actually been really enjoying it and getting a very productive workout done.

Because of this, I thought it might keep me motivated to write down list of 6 Reasons to Workout in the Evening for those dreary days when I start talking myself out of a good training session because it’s too cold, too dark or too exhausting.

6 Reasons to Workout in the Evening

 

1) It stops you spending money

If you leave work at 4 or 5, or even 6pm, there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy the evening. It’s all too tempting to say yes to that weekday after work drink, or just to pop by the shops on your way home to pick up some comfort snacks. You might even go home and turn on your laptop for a few hours of binge-online-shopping. If you devote that time to the gym instead, not only are you making gains, you’re actively avoiding spending any money that you could (or should) be saving.

 

2) You can work off the day

There’s no avoiding the fact that some of the best workouts are done when you have some pent up anger to be taken out on the punchbag/dumbbells/squat rack/machine of choice. Venting your anger this way is a productive and for the most part, healthy way of using up any excess adrenaline. Just don’t let it become an addiction!

Evening Workouts

3) You Sleep Better

I wouldn’t advise going to the gym right before you’re about to go to bed, because the endorphins and chemicals that get released after exercise will still be buzzing around, making it difficult to sleep. However, if you go for a workout straight away after work, you’ll have plenty of energy to go home, cook some dinner and prepare for the next day. By the time you get over your post-exercise high, you’ll be ready to go to bed and will probably fall asleep as soon as your head touches the pillow.

Evening Workouts

4) You can get social

Let’s be honest, not very many people want to wake up at the crack of dawn to trek to the gym with you. In the evening however, you might find more people that are eager to get a session done, try out a new class or just have a chat on the treadmill. Small-group training with friends is a very popular way at the moment to increase your daily activity at the same time as getting in all the gossip!

Evening Workouts

5) You’re not time-restricted

Sure you probably don’t want to work out all night and there’s probably a point at which you need to say to yourself; “I need to go home now”. However you don’t have to worry that if you do that extra set, take 10 minutes to cool down or have a quick abs blast at the end of your session that you’ll be late for work. You also won’t need to put on your office/work clothes after your workout- you can just shower and pajama it up. Much more comfortable!

6) You get to lie-in in the morning.

Do I need to say more?

Morning Lie-in

When do you workout and why? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Dublin City Break & The Paramount Hotel Review

Dublin City Break & The Paramount Hotel Review

Given that the last time Tom and I went on holiday, it had been to one of those, kinda soulless, all-inclusive resorts (which really aren’t my cup of tea) it was nice to know that our weekend break to Dublin was going to be an entirely different experience.

I love the sort of holidays where you are free to do completely as you please. Without being bogged down by organised tours or set meal times, we could take in the city at our leisure. If we wanted to get lost along cobbled backstreets for hours at a time, we could. And we did. If we wanted to go to the park in the torrential rain to make friends with the deer, we could. And we did. Or, if we wanted to say “sod it, it’s freezing cold” and go home for a middle-of-the-day nap in our stunning 1930’s hotel room, we could. And we did.

It was the ideal way to experience such a beautiful, fun, spontaneous city.

City Break To Dublin: Breakdown & The Paramount Hotel Review

 A Warm Welcome at the Paramount Hotel

The Paramount Hotel was more of a BnB than a large, generic chain Hotel. Its personal and homely feel made it an ideal place to stay for our trip. It’s located in the hub of the Temple Bar district, a stone’s throw away from the River Liffey and right round the corner from a seemingly endless number of bars and restaurants.

We were greeted with a warm welcome from the moment we stepped through the door. There were only a few members of staff, who were all very helpful and friendly- they even managed to remember our names throughout the three days that we were there.

The rooms were clean and the bed was superbly comfortable. Dark mahogany furnishings with crisp, white linens made for a “comfortable luxury” feel. That’s without being too fussy or pretentious, which is exactly what we were after.

There was some noise from the streets at night, but Tom and I were prepared for that. It’s a tribute, I guess, to the hotel’s central location. You can hardly close to stay in one of the most lively areas of a city like Dublin and then complain about noise!

City Break To Dublin: Breakdown & The Paramount Hotel Review

For those on a budget, The Paramount Hotel is perfectly reasonable. It’s good value too, considering its central location, large rooms and a very decent breakfast in the mornings! Tom loved having a cooked breakfast every mornings, and there were plenty of veggie options for me.

If you’re looking for plush, modern & lavish then it probably isn’t for you. But if, like us, you want to be a bit tight on the purse strings whilst staying somewhere (much) nicer than a hostel, The Paramount is a great option. Just remember to take some earplugs if you’re a light sleeper!

 

Pumpkin Swirl Halloween Brownies

Pumpkin Swirl Halloween Brownies

These awesome Pumpkin Swirl brownies are a by-product of the three hours I spend at the weekend carving Jack-o-Lanterns for Halloween. When you’re faced with a massive pile of pumpkin-insides to contend with, it sort of forces you to get creative!

I didn’t really fancy going with the standard pumpkin pie, and it felt a bit wrong to make anything savoury – it’s a holiday after all! So after spending a little while brainstorming and drafting recipes, I came up with the idea for Pumpkin Swirl brownies- filled with dates and walnuts.

It was a bit of an experiment, but overall result was far better than expected. The best bit is that they aren’t even that unhealthy. There’s no sugar, no butter and I’ve packed them full of fibre and protein simply by replacing the regular white, plain flour with Quinoa flour (so if you tried out my Courgette Cupcakes here’s a way to use up your extra flour!)

I’d definitely recommend the walnuts, but if you fancy a different filling you could always try white chocolate chips or pistachios.

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

 

Ingredients

For the Brownies

  • 150g Quinoa Flour
  • 60g Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Ground Coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons Sunflower Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Soy Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • 2 Teaspoons of Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 100 grams Walnuts (optional)

For the Pumpkin Swirl

  • Insides of 1 large or 2 medium pumpkins
  • 100g Quinoa flour
  • 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon either Honey or Brown Sugar
  • A splash of water

 

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 celsius (about 340 or so fahrenheit). Line a baking tin with greaseproof paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and ground coffee. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the sunflower oil, before stirring in the honey and vanilla extract.

cocoa-powder

Add the eggy mixture to the flour bowl, stirring thoroughly until it’s all mixed together. Carefully add the milk until the batter is nice and smooth, but not too runny.

chocolately

Stir in the walnuts, and set aside.

Put some water on to boil and get a pan.

Chop any large pieces of pumpkin into cubes, roughly 2cm x 2cm x 2cm. Put it into the pan and pour over the boiling water, letting it simmer at a medium heat for approximately 10 minutes, until the pumpkin is nice and soft.

When the pumpkin is ready, put it into a blender with all of the other pumpkin swirl ingredients, adding as much or as little of the spice as you like. Blitz for 3-5 minutes until you have a nice, smooth, orange batter.

3-steps

When both the chocolate and the pumpkin batters are ready, you need to pour them into the baking tin. Because there is more of the chocolate one, pour this one in first, spreading it evenly across the tin.

Next take the orange pumpkin batter, and layer it on top of the chocolate batter in the tin.

Using an ordinary dinner knife, gently mark some swirly patterns in the baking mixture, until you get a nice marbled effect.

baked pumpkin

Cook for approximately 35-40 minutes, until spongy and soft, and a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool before slicing into squares and putting onto a plate.